The Cumberland Throw

Eels Pre-Season Training – February 19, 2018: Royalty Returns

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fellow Eels fans and lurkers from other clubs – it gives me great pleasure to announce the return of Clint Gutherson to Eels opposed work. Yes, the sovereign of Saleyards was in his castle.

More on that later.

This morning’s skills and opposed session at Saleyards was day one of Parramatta’s preparation for this Saturday’s trial against the Knights. There was a bit of banter during the warm up and extras, but it was very much game faces on during their work.

Nobody typified that more than head coach, Brad Arthur. From his drills with the forwards, to the opposed game, the messages were being delivered in typical BA fashion. That included plenty of praise for players executing as they should.

Nearly two hours were spent out on the field. Here’s the highlights:

Forwards

With the backs involved with kicking drills, BA stayed with the forwards to run them through both defensive and offensive plays.

The defensive drills practised decision making and execution with different shapes being run through the middle.

The offensive drills were obviously designed to throw similar pressure on the opposition.

A number of the forwards have worked strongly on their passing game during the pre-season. Eels fans are well aware of what Brown provides to the team, but the team won’t be reliant on one man. It’s also been interesting to observe the lines that certain forwards are running.

Last year I tipped Nathan Brown to have a huge season. This year I’m tipping Kenny Edwards to have a blinder, with a massive watch on Kane Evans and Danny Alvaro.

Outside of that, it’s going to a challenge for Arthur to finalise the forwards on his bench. A case can be made for anyone on the forwards roster deserving a spot in the 17. Certainly, everyone has been demonstrating that they want the gig.

The Opposed

As per previous opposed sessions, the forwards (including the dummy halves) swapped between the blue and green teams. There’s little doubt that BA is providing every opportunity for players to push their claims.

The game had a strong contrived element with turn overs or restarts sometimes determined by BA. The blue team were again dominant, especially when the ball was pushed wide.

An early standout moment saw Kaysa Pritchard burst into open space from the ruck, before linking up with Jarryd Hayne for the try.

Heavy contact through the middle.

For the most part, the packs were evenly matched (remember – there’s no interchanging – just swapping between the teams) and the contests through the middle were tight. The other tries mostly came from getting on the outside of the defence out wide.

The feature of the play that grabbed my attention was the talk. Leading up to the first and only trial, communication on the field is a good barometer of where they are as a team. It’s noticeable that Tepai has found his voice and that Kenny Edwards is all business in his talk. It’s only a trial match this weekend, but the players seem focussed. To be honest, they’re probably over all training and no playing.

The King

Gutho gets involved with some defence.

This was an entree only invitation to dinner for the Guthbus. After completing a kicking drill with the backs, Gutho donned the orange vest for the opposed work and took up his position at fullback for the greens.

When a player wears an orange vest, it means that he’s not to be involved in full contact. It’s a quick visual reminder for the other players, because the odd big collision can still happen at training.

Gutho was involved in a bit of defence, a few sweep plays, kick returns and links. However, after about 15 minutes, time was called for him and he returned to his rehab and conditioning.

This was the next step in the King’s long road back, albeit a significant one. He’s done an amazing job to get to this stage before the season kicks off.

Authors Note

BA and Joey keeping a close eye on proceedings.

Quite a bit of time was spent on kicking and catching during extras. I continue to be impressed with Will Smith’s range of skills and Jarryd Hayne showed his class during these drills.

We were fortunate to have Joey Grima and Brad Arthur come over to spend a bit of time with us after the session finished. The Eels coaches are genuine in their appreciation of supporters and generous with their time. It’s much appreciated.

Stay with the Cumberland Throw this week as we lead you into the Eels big trial against Newcastle.

We’ll continue the training reports through the week, then take you into the big day.

Eels forever!

Sixties

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Hamsammich
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Hamsammich

I’m super excited for this trial, I can’t imagine what the players are feeling.

Great write up once again.

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Trivic report again sixties, I loved it. Having King Gutho back on the park with the boys will be great for him and eventually the team. i can’t see him being more than 4/5 weeks away with this run as an indicator of his readiness to put the knee to the test in game like opposed sessions. That could mean Gutho back for round 2 or 3 rather than 4 to 6 as was heralded earlier in this off season. The swapping between teams certainly has potential for big contact I would imagine as everyone wants to be in the… Read more »

Grunta
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Grunta

Bring on the footy.
Bring on the bloody footy and go you Eels!

Jack
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Jack

Giddy with excitement!! Seriously energising read knowing we’ll be watching our strongest team take the field this weekend. I sincerely hope the boys come out of it unscathed and pumped for the season ahead.

Fuuuuuuui
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Fuuuuuuui

Great write up Sixties! Hugely appreciative of the effort you put into these.

When you spoke to BA afterwards, did he give any indication as to what round Gutho would be back?

I’m intrigued on how one defends or attacks a player in an orange vest only half heartedly. Is it only a grab of the player, or is it full contact but with less force?

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Fuuuuui his back between rd 7/9 his injury last year is a long and painful process to get right. You can’t rush these kinda injuries.

Cheers
#Eels4life#

JonBoy
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JonBoy

Why does all the good stuff always happen when I don’t get to Saleyards!!!!!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

60’s who is getting the hooker spot? In your opinion? Can we assume who starts against Newy that they will get round one?

Scott Selmes
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Scott Selmes

Sorry Scotty.

Milo
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Milo

It seemed like a good day to be down at Salesyards; all aboard the bus for M1. Will they play only 17 on the wkend? or two teams for each half..? Like the read again sixties. thank you

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

One can feel the linament in this report, its almost time for the real stuff to start.

17 players will be chosen and they will have some huge expectations on them especially to keep out those that are disappointed in missing out. Those missing out will no doubt make sure they make each game they play one that puts pressure on those above them.

Great stuff, and seeing Gutho back in some contact moves, he’s too valuable a player to be rushed back especially with the injury he’s had, better to have more weeks out than to come back too soon.

Milo
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Milo

Yes i think that is right about the 17 Col; i guess the other guys are missing a trial unless they have another one in house.

Rob
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Rob

Colin, I have to agree with you on Gutherson. His value to the team is almost unquantifiable. We missed his determination tremendously at the back end of last year. Let’s all hope that he makes another successful return from injury.

yaya
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yaya

I’m getting the feeling Kaysa is going to get the nod over King

MattL
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MattL

Thanks for another great report, can’t wait for that first kick off.

For all interested, this weekends trial is going to be live streamed on… http://www.newcastleknights.com.au

Michael Picklum
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Michael Picklum

Another great report 60s. Wish we could find a permanent FG role for Will Smith. He really seems to be putting his hand up for selection.

JJ
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JJ

Great stuff 60’s, will be good to see how BA rotates the players through the 80 mins.
Great write up once again

DDay
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DDay

We would be in a good space if Edwards, Evans and Alvaro had a break out year – with that sort of platform we have a lot of point scoring ability in the backline.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Love this report. Gives such a great insight.
Question for you though, what makes you think K Edwards is going to have a great season. He was in and out of the starting side last year but has a great motor and work rate and adds a lot of aggression. I want to see more of him.